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The Broken Word by Adam Foulds
  

The Broken Word

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Winner of the Costa Poetry Award 2008.

Costa Book Awards 2008 Judges' comment: "This heart-stopping story about the Mau Mau uprising brings hidden conflicts of conscience, race and class to the surface in a brutally compelling narrative."

Synopsis

The Broken Word by Adam Foulds

Set in the 1950s, The Broken Word is an extraordinary poetic sequence that animates and illuminates a dark, terrifying period in British colonial history.The combination here of language and imagery that feel utterly contemporary, and subject matter – tribal violence and subsequent retribution – that seems almost Homeric, gives the narrative all the febrile energy of classical drama, re-charged and re-imagined.

Tom has returned to his family's farm in Kenya for the summer vacation between school and university when he is swept up by the events of the Mau Mau uprising. Beginning with sporadic, brutal attacks by dispossessed Kikuyu on the British now occupying their land – attacks often executed with nothing more than traditional panga knives – the conflict escalates as the terrified British stop at nothing to re-impose order, eventually driving most of the Kikuyu population into the prison camps of what has become known as ‘Britain's Gulag’. As Tom is propelled into violence and horror the poem mutates into a meditation on the inheritance of conflict, the destruction of innocence and the impossibility of afterwards saying what one has seen.

Written with rigour, intelligence, and a fierce, unsparing clarity, this is profound, lyrical work with that rare confidence and thrilling originality that announce the arrival of a significant new voice.

About the Author

Adam Foulds was born in 1974 and lives in south London. He is a graduate of the Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia and his poetry has appeared in a number of literary magazines. His first novel, The Truth About These Strange Times, was published in 2007.

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Book Info

Publication date

17th April 2008

Author

Adam Foulds

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Publisher

Vintage

Format

Paperback
80 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners
Poetry
eBook Favourites

Poetry by individual poets

ISBN

9780224084444

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